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Electromagnetism | HSC Physics Study Guide Part 2

Read this if you want to attract great Physics marks!

Are you struggling with Electromagnetism for HSC Physics? Don’t worry, in this article, we’ll explain the key concepts you need to know to fulfil the NESA Physics Outcomes.


Electromagnetism | HSC Physics Study Guide Part 2

Year 12 Physics students find the Electromagnetism module conceptually challenging. As such, students struggle to provide scientific responses that are logical and sequential as required to obtain full marks in exam questions. In Part 2 of our HSC Physics study guide, the Matrix Science Team explains the key concepts in this topic using flowcharts to simplify complex processes.

Some flowcharts from the Matrix Year Physics Theory Book are provided below to help you write better scientific responses. If you missed it, don’t forget to have a look at Part 1 of the HSC Physics study guide on Advanced Mechanics.

1. The Motor Effect

The motor effect is a phenomenon where a current carrying conductor within a magnetic field experiences a force. Although it may not look like it at first glance, this motor effect is actually a consequence of the Lorentz force:


2. Operation of a DC Motor

The most famous application of the motor effect is the operation of a DC Motor, something students must learn to explain in this module. The trick to understanding the DC Motor is to realise there are two key components: the motor effect producing a torque, and the split-ring commutator allowing continuous rotation in the same direction. This is shown in the flowchart below:


3. Electromagnetic Induction

Students learn about Faraday’s Law which explains how electric potential differences (voltages) and currents can be generated. One of the more common examples involves a moving conductor in a magnetic field, a phenomenon which is once again derived from the Lorentz force:


4. Faraday’s and Lenz’s Laws

Faraday’s Law informs us of the circumstances under which an EMF and current are induced, and Lenz’s Law outlines the direction of the induced current. They are often grouped together when explaining the response of a circuit to a change in magnetic flux:



5. Electromagnetic Braking

A useful implementation of Faraday’s and Lenz’s laws is electromagnetic braking, which uses induced currents to slow the motion of a metal wheel. The process is explained below – crucially this involves no physical contact between the brake and the wheel.


6. Induction Motors

A second device that uses Faraday’s and Lenz’s laws is the induction motor, which uses induced eddy currents to produce motion of the rotor without the need for slip rings/split ring commutator. The process of inducing rotation is outlined below:


7. Electric Generators

The principle of electromagnetic induction is also used to generate electricity via an electric generator. In some aspects, these function in the opposite way to motors: a torque is applied to the rotor, and an alternating current is extracted. The process is outlined in the flowchart below:



Looking for Part 3, The Nature of light?



Need help attracting better Physics results?

The HSC is just around the corner! So, effectively use these holidays to boost your Physics marks in 9 days.  Matrix Physics Holiday Courses will teach you the term’s content in 9 structured days so you can use your term to revise and practise! Learn more about our Physics Holiday Course now.

Written by Matrix Science Team

The Matrix Science Team are teachers and tutors with a passion for Science and a dedication to seeing Matrix Students achieving their academic goals.


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